The two littoral combat ships, Freedom and Independence, sailed alongisde each other for the first time Tuesday as the Independence arrived at San Diego, where both ships will be based. (Lt. Jan Shultis / U.S. Navy)
At least one Republican member of Congress has objected to the last-minute addition last week of an amendment charging the U.S. Navy with inadequate briefings and a “lack of transparency” on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program.
“In contrast to the language in the amendment, I believe the Navy has been forthcoming regarding Littoral Combat Ship deficiencies and the corrective actions taken on behalf of the Navy and its industry partners,” Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., wrote to House Armed Services Committee (HASC) chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
“I believe the committee has already received all pertinent information relative to the performance of [USS Freedom] LCS 1. I therefore request that as you move forward, you work with your Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee to have this last minute amendment stricken from further consideration and legislation.”
Ribble, while not a member of the Armed Services Committee, is a first-term congressman whose district includes the town of Marinette, where Lockheed Martin builds its LCS ships at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.
The amendment at issue was offered by Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a vocal critic of the LCS and the Navy’s handling of the program.
Although Hunter and the committee have received numerous LCS briefings from Navy and industry representatives, his amendment asked for another briefing to the committee, “in a classified or unclassified session.”
The amendment was included in the subcommittee markups for the 2013 defense authorization bill, which has yet to be reported out by the full committee.
The Freedom has been under repair at its homeport of San Diego, where it was joined May 2 for the first time by the Independence, the first ship of an alternative LCS design from Austal USA and General Dynamics.